Bryant feeling ‘very lucky’ he wasn’t seriously injured

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The Lakers had barely opened the last few minutes of their practice to the media Friday when Ronny Turiaf and Javaris Crittenton collided under the basket and got up . . . very . . . very . . . slowly.

A minute or two later, Luke Walton hobbled off the court after tweaking his right ankle in a noncontact injury while trying to defend Sasha Vujacic.

So much for a few solid days of rest.

The good news for the Lakers: That Turiaf was actually practicing in the first place, and none of the above incidents were expected to affect anybody’s status for Sunday’s home game against Golden State.

In addition, Kobe Bryant did not practice Friday, nor did Chris Mihm, but both will play Sunday.

Bryant, who injured his left shoulder, cannot hold his arm over his head without feeling pain but said he felt “very lucky” after watching the replay of his tumble in Wednesday’s victory over Denver.

“It could have been much worse,” he said. “It’s not something that structurally is going to get any worse. It’s just try to maintain the pain level down as much as possible so Sunday I’m playing with less pain than what I’m feeling now.”


There was also a Kwame Brown sighting.

“He was over there by the mirror doing a lot of work this morning,” Coach Phil Jackson said, smiling. “He was brushing his hair and he wasn’t shaving, I know that.”

Then Jackson got serious, saying he liked what he saw of Brown’s individual workout with athletic performance coordinator Alex McKechnie.

“He looked really good and quick,” he said. “It could be next weekend he starts rounding into some kind of ability to be on the court. He’s still inside the margins of what we think is an appropriate recovery [time].”

The Lakers declined to provide a timetable for Brown’s return, but a sprained knee typically sidelines a player for two to four weeks, with some sitting out as many as six weeks. Brown will hit the four-week mark Dec. 16. He has sat out 10 games.

Turiaf sat out two games because of a concussion but pronounced himself ready to play Sunday after spending Friday’s practice banging with Andrew Bynum, who has at least three inches and 35 pounds on him.

“I’m a little rusty, but I feel all right,” Turiaf said. “I was playing [center]. I don’t really like it, but, oh well. It was good to be back out there.”

Injuries aside, the Lakers were glad to be home and in the beginning stages of a period in which they would play only one game in seven days.

The Lakers had played five games in seven days, including two back-to-back situations.

“They’ve been coming, falling like raindrops, these games,” forward Lamar Odom said. “It was good to play well [Wednesday], have a day off, then come back here again.”